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Judge Makes McVay Death Sentence Official

May 13, 2014, 5:44 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Judge Makes McVay Death Sentence Official
James McVay


It's official. James McVay will be executed for the 2011 murder of 75-year-old Maybelle Schein.

McVay was formally sentenced Tuesday afternoon after a Minnehaha County jury verdict last month sentenced McVay to death by lethal injection for the crime.

For nearly three years, the 44-year-old has been making the walk to the Minnehaha County courthouse as an admitted killer but now he's a South Dakota death row inmate.

"The defendant will go to death row where there are additional safeguards, restrictions, so it will be a safer environment for the guards and inmates at the penitentiary as well," Minnehaha County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan said after the sentencing Tuesday.

A month ago, it took a Minnehaha County jury just over five hours to hand down the death sentence after hearing the gruesome details of McVay's crime during an eight-day sentencing trial. McVay says he killed Schein in July of 2011 to get 'blood on his hands' before going on a cross-country killing spree in an attempt to assassinate the president.

April 14 Story: James McVay Gets Death Sentence

Judge Lieberman confirmed the verdict Tuesday by saying the jury has already spoken out about McVay's crime.

"In effect, our community agrees that in a crime this terrible, the only sentence that equals the enormity of the crime is death,” Lieberman said.

McVay's attorney tried one last motion to set aside the jury's verdict and sentence McVay to life but Lieberman quickly rejected the motion.

"Today was really a formality. The court had no discretion to do anything but what the jury determined to be the verdict in this case," McGowan said.

McVay's death sentence will be automatically reviewed by the South Dakota Supreme Court.

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